06_Language+Origin - EvolutionofLanguage EvolutionofLanguage

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Evolution of Language
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Evolution of Language Language makes it possible for us to  inform each other about the world. A sentence (string of words) is perceived. The sentence activates representations  that are used to construct a representation  of something in the world (its meaning).
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Human line appears 7,000,000  years ago. Motor learning through imitation  (mirror neurons)   Increased size and complexity of social  organization (hence increased need for  communication)
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Increased brain size and  cognitive complexity…
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Increased size and complexity of social  organization (hence increased usefulness  for communication)
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Attempts to teach Bonobos language  demonstrate importance of social  organization to language learning
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Kanzi’s speech  comprehension
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Kanzi’s  training Metata and Kanzi are bonobos, who are  more social than any other primate  except humans. Metata was undergoing lexigram  training when she gave birth to Kanzi. Kanzi played with a human nanny in the  presence of Metata during her language  lessons
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Kanzi accomplishments Without formal training  acquired  meanings of lexigrams and  comprehended novel sentences of  request in formal tests    How?  During extensive  interactions with humans, Kanzi  was reinforced for responding to  and making requests
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Early evolution of language 500,000 -150,000 years ago,  increasingly human-like creatures  appear.
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Kinds of Meaning 500,00- 50,00 Years Ago Emotional Utterances-- amygdala invests and  detects meaning in utterances such as  shrieks and cries. In normal speech this  system makes sarcastic utterances possible  because emotional content of voice always  dominates word meaning. Pointing Utterances-- This/that take the place  of gestures Semantic system-- logogens make naming  possible through sound-image associations
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Multiple Changes in System make  Modern Human Language Possible Semantic (logogen) system makes word meaning  possible Lowering of larynx makes it possible to create more  sounds Specialization of motor area previously directing tool  use makes the construction of sentences possible Specialization of speech area in left frontal lobe  makes faster production of sounds possible Some song birds also have left hemispheric vocalization Specialized speech understanding areas in the  temporal and prefrontal cortex makes it possible to  recover phonemic intent
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06_Language+Origin - EvolutionofLanguage EvolutionofLanguage

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